The Power of “W.A.I.T.” in Executive Coaching
Episode #1036: Glean wisdom and insight from Janet Fogarty, a seasoned executive coach and Vistage Chair of 23 years, as she applies a new meaning to the word “WAIT,” reviews various types of psychometric tests available for use by executive coaches, and dives into the importance of group dynamics—all with the goal of increasing your coaching impact on clients and leading more effective executive coaching groups.
About Janet Fogarty
Janet Fogarty has been a Vistage Chair for 23 years, and has held many roles in the Vistage community such as a Master Chair, board member, and an adjunct faculty for training.
Janet has worked with over 100 Vistage groups in 7 markets for over 14 years. She works with groups and individuals on group dynamics, thinking, and behavior. Janet is also certified in several assessments such as DISC and Emergenetics, and uses her knowledge to deliver workshops and coaching on the positive intelligence model.
Before her coaching career, she was a successful business leader and Vistage member herself. Janet has a passion for bringing light to those around her and encouraging CEOs to become CEOs of their own lives. Today she serves her clients through Vistage and Abbondanza, Fogarty Connect.
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From Vistage member to Vistage Chair
Before entering the executive coaching industry, Janet was a Vistage group member and business owner. She shares that in her Vistage group, it felt like she had “15 coaches all at once” as these peer group members challenged her and asked her the difficult questions. In her time as a Vistage member, she learned that she could design her life. Her peer group also helped her sell her business when the “age of the Internet” created a market that was not supportive of brick-and-mortar travel agencies. This sale eventually led her to being an executive coach herself.
The value of variety
In Janet’s coaching practice today she thrives with the variety of clients she serves. She has key groups, peer groups, and works with a variety of business owners and CEOs. In her time with Vistage, she has participated in multiple roles such as participating on advisory boards, doing training, and being a Best Practice Chair. Janet wants to extend the reach of her executive coaching practice outside of the realm of Vistage because she wants to inspire “meaningful conversations” with “the rest of the world.” Today, she extends her practice through a company called Abbondanza and her coaching practice called Fogarty Connect.
Inspiration and individuality from Italy
Janet takes great inspiration from the people and culture of Italy. She shares that “they live in joy.” She is inspired by “the art” of their daily lives and their “zest for life.” She also feels a connection to the history of the region. Janet lived in Rome when she went to school with some family members. After her first semester, most of her family went back to America, but she decided to stay. She shares that this moment gave her the opportunity to become “an individual” and be “individualized.” Janet states, “that was very powerful because then I started saying, ‘what do I need’, ‘what do I want?’ Huge pivot point for me in my life.”
W.A.I.T. (Why Am I Talking)
Severin shares a time when he learned the value of listening on his trip to Italy during college. Janet elaborates on this story by sharing an acronym W.A.I.T. – Why Am I Talking. She uses this acronym to remind herself to let her clients be the expert and that it is her role to ask the questions and dive deeper. By “leaning into the I don’t know” Janet is able to increase her positive impact on clients, their lives, and their businesses.
Going beyond the client
When asked about a lesson that was recently learned that she wishes she learned in the beginning of her career, Janet shares a story she calls the “Ralph Kramden story.” Janet once worked with a blue-collar individual to bring him to the point of the COO “wearing a three-piece suit” and “making presentations.” However, Janet shares that she actually had “pushed him beyond where he wanted to go… and it was a real struggle for him.” Moving to the position of a COO, was “not where he belonged… not where he was comfortable” and “not where he wanted to live. That wasn’t what his true self was.” After Janet sold her business, he left to drive an RTD bus. In this story, Janet learned that she can’t want something more than a client and that she can’t lead based on her “agenda.” Instead, coaches are called to listen to their client’s desires and bring clarity to their goals and ambitions. Severin relates to Janet’s experience by sharing a story of his own with a “lifestyle business” that had a unique reason for being in business.
Using the left-hand margin
In order to keep herself from “jumping to a conclusion,” Janet uses a technique called “left-hand margin.” Doing this means that when listening to clients, the things that spark her interest are written down and addressed later. By giving her clients room to talk freely, intentionally listening, and then intentionally revisiting specific topics or comments, she is able to “trust [her] intuition,” “stop” and ask questions, while increasing the bond of trust between herself and her clients.
Filling your toolbox
Janet calls herself an “assessment profile collector.” She is certified in several assessments such as DISC, Myers-Briggs, and Enneagram. She uses these various assessment platforms in tandem with each other, using whichever assessment suits her client and their needs best. Janet is also certified in Emergenetics which focuses on genetics and nature versus nurture. This assessment makes a “brain profile” by teasing out “behaviors versus thinking styles.”
She also uses several other assessment profiles to aid in her client acquisition and when deciding whether or not to admit an individual to a group. These assessment profiles also assist her in her overall coaching process. Inspired by the Fierce Conversations assessment platform, she develops impactful and meaningful conversations throughout her coaching. All of these assessment programs fill Janet’s coaching toolbox with a variety of information, questions, and insights that increase the impact of her coaching practice.
Advice for aspiring coaches and intention
For those just starting their coaching career, Janet recommends that they should get their own coach first. Doing this will help the aspiring coach learn what it is like to have an executive coach and help them learn valuable questions. When preparing to be a coach, she also recommends that they should surround themselves with people who ask “level 3 questions” that are challenging and inspiring. Furthermore, she recommends being “in touch” with yourself, focus on your rate of retention, and practice. Severin shares that her advise reminds him of “intention” and Janet responds that intention is “what drives everything” for her. Having an intentional design for her life is something that she learned while being a Vistage member and has continued to be a motivating force in her coaching practice.
The “ah-ha!” moment
Janet shares that her best day ever is when her clients have an “ah-ha!” moment that she was able to be a part of. She describes this as “illumination.” Janet shares that she “[holds] the flashlight” but she can’t force people to accept it. Being able to lead her clients to deeper insights is what makes Janet’s best days ever as an executive coach.
Is that okay?
One of the most powerful questions that Janet asks her clients and those she encounters is questions like “where are you going with that?” and “is that okay?” She does this to encourage thought and questioning of what they truly want. She also likes to ask her clients “how do you know?” She shares that when working with executives “there’s a lot of knowing individuals” and challenging this can create insightful discussions.
When asked about a valuable lesson she has learned, Janet shares the importance of following your own “healthy boundaries” and “intuition.” She relates this to her criteria for accepting new clients or peer group members. She shares that if she dreads “going to talk to someone” she has the permission to say, “I don’t need to do that.” In keeping with her criteria, Janet shares that it sometimes “separates” her from other groups, but she actually “believes strongly in discernment” and the importance of “group dynamics.” She views her peer advisory groups as their own entity in which she coaches the group as a whole. By establishing healthy boundaries for those she coaches, she is able create highly impactful groups and coaching sessions.
Being your authentic self
When asked about her “why,” Janet shares a Ted-Talk that claims business leaders should live under the three principles of addicts in recovery: rigorous authenticity, surrender to the outcome, and do the hard work. Janet’s “why” that pushes her to excellence is the ability to be “rigorously authentic” and having positive effects on those around her. Janet has a passion for giving those around her a “beneficial presence” and a positive impact.
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